February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Reviews

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I Got It! by David Wiesner | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 3 –Set against the backdrop of a pick-up baseball game, Wiesner’s nearly wordless picture book expertly layers elements of relatable emotion, boundless imagination, eye-popping action, and out-and-out fun.

Photographic by Isabel Quintero | SLJ Review

Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies.

Education, Inc. | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmaker Brian Malone presents cautionary evidence of the stealth privatization movement of public schools across the country.

Review: ‘Sparks!’

Sparks! Writer: Ian Boothby Artist: Nina Matsumoto Graphix; $12.99 A baby has just fallen down a well. Quick, which common household pet would you most entrust with the rescue of the baby—a cat or a dog? Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto’s original graphic novel Sparks! is based on that very contrast between how we regard […]

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 1 –Tamaki’s picture book debut explores color and the seasons in a lyrical, philosophical way that is rooted in a child’s sensibilities.

Book Review: The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

Publisher’s description Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the […]

Book Review: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Publisher’s description Paris, at the dawn of the modern age: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion […]

Books in Brief: Unicorns, Bears, and Indian Wool (Pashminas)

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson ISBN 978-1-4494-7791-2 $9.99 pbk Amp Kids, c2016 Unicorn Crossing: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure ISBN 978-1-4494-8357-9 $9.99 pbk Amp Kids, c2017 If young readers haven’t found Phoebe and her best friend the Unicorn, they have been missing out. Snarky, glib, and just plain fun, Phoebe and her best […]

Americanized by Sara Saedi | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Readers will laugh, cry, and empathize with Saedi’s adolescent journey as an undocumented Iranian immigrant living in the United States.

Islandborn/Lola by Junot Díaz | SLJ Review

K-Gr 3 –When Ms. Obi asks her students to draw a picture of the country they are originally from, the children are excited. All except for Lola, “What if you left before you could start remembering?”

Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

Gr 7 Up –Set during the Zoot Suit riots, this novel in verse tells a fictional account of a dark time in American history.

What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? | Professional Shelf

A well-conceived guide to teaching nonfiction, chock-full of book suggestions

Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You by Marley Dias | SLJ Review

Gr 5 Up –Dias pens an eminently readable and nuanced personal narrative of her #1000BlackGirlsBooks campaign and her tips, tools, and strategies for effecting positive change in the representation of Black girls in children’s literature and beyond.

Review: ‘Chavo the Invisible’

Chavo the Invisible Writer: Lee Nordling Artist: Flavio Silva Lerner Publishing; $6.99 Chavo the Invisible is the third installment of writer Lee Nordling’s “Game For Adventure” series of wordless mini-graphic novels, following Andrew the Seeker and Belinda the Unbeatable. It’s his first with artist Flavio Silva, as Patty Cake‘s Scott Roberts drew the two previous […]

Book Review: Still Here by Rowan Blanchard

Publisher’s description Hollywood rising star and passionate humanitarian Rowan Blanchard shares her beloved personal scrapbook with the world. Featuring art and writing from her favorite photographers, poets, and friends alongside her own journal entries and snapshots, STILL HERE is an unedited look at Rowan Blanchard’s inner life—and a poignant representation of teen life in general. […]

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow | SLJ Review

Gr 5-8 –The day before 13-year-old drummer Melly heads to Camp Rockaway, her parents drop a bombshell: They’re getting divorced.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4-8 –A teacher discounted young African-Puerto Rican student Arturo Schomburg’s heritage, stating, “There were no Negro heroes worth noting.” Rather than discourage him, that comment spurred his lifelong quest for the facts.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Slavery comes to a halt when the dead on Civil War battlefields begin to rise and eat their compatriots.

Spring Holiday Roundup | Reviews

The first of a series of quarterly seasonal roundups, featuring a variety of fiction and nonfiction books about all of the various holidays, festivals, and cultural celebrations that come across our desks.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2018 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Trash Revolution by Erica Fyvie | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Using the contents of an average kid’s backpack as a starting point, the author explores the production, use, and eventual end of products involving water, paper, food, plastic, clothing, metals, and electronics.